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We Britons love to travel an travel we do. We really do get around the globe, and we love warm and sunny places to visit. That is why many of us travel abroad for our holidays to some of the warmer climates in the EU.

And when we travel abroad we need to make sure we take out a holiday or travel’s insurance policy.

If you holiday here in the UK, or do a “staycation” as they say, should you take ill or have an accident, you are covered by our very own NHS. You can be taken to any hospital or treatment centre and be cared for and it doesn’t cost you anything just as it wouldn’t if you were to see your GP or be treated at home.

When outside of the UK, this is a different matter as the long arm of the NHS doesn’t reach that far to other countries. So we need travel insurance to protect us and also cover the costs of any treatments or medical care we may require whilst abroad.

But we should also get a EHIC or European Health Insurance Card as well.

The EHIC is available to all UK residents and allows UK travelers abroad to receive meical treatment from public hospitals in all European Economic Area countries. This also covers Switzerland. Each person must have their own EHIC, and that includes children and even babies.

The EHIC allows the traveler to receive medical treatment just the same as a person who may be a resident in that particular country. The treatment would be the same and also based on the same cost factor, if the residents receive free treatment, then the treatment is free to the EHIC holder. If the treatments are at a reduced cost, the EHIC traveler receives the reduced cost.

When traveling abroad you do need to carry the card with you at all times to prove your entitlement.

The EHIC doesn’t cover all the fees and costs associated with medical treatment. This can vary amongst different countries as to what amount the card does cover. That is why having a travel’s insurance policy is essential.

The card also doesn’t cover dental treatments in some countries.

The EHIC also will not cover private medical treatments or repatriation; this is getting you back to the UK. It doesn’t cover the travel expenses for you to get back home.

One thing to keep in mind and is important is that you still need a travel insurance policy. It is important to have both an EHIC and travel insurance. In some instances insurance companies will waive the excess of a policy if you use your EHIC.

Travel insurance helps fill in the many gaps that a EHIC will not cover, repatriation for one thing. This may also include a medical escort, stretcher or air ambulance.

Many travel insurance policies also cover cancellations, lost passports, and other non-medical emergencies. So as you can see, having travel insurance as well as the EHIC is essential.

So where can you obtain a EHIC? You can apply online at and you will need your national insurance number and other personal details. Coverage begins immediately from the date of application and the card is free. However some unofficial web sites and services may charge a fee for this.

Your EHIC is valid for five (5) years and can be renewed. You can renew the EHIC six (6) months prior to it expiring and any time left on your previous card, will be added to your new card.

It is important that you carry the card with you at all times when traveling and you will be required to present it at the time of any treatment or hospital stays. If you don’t have the card with you, it may be possible to get a PRC or Provisional Replacement Certificate. This certificate will be sent directly to the treatment facility or medical professional who is treating you.

I have read where some Brit’s abroad have been refused treatment or had issues in using their EHIC, which should not be the case. If you do experience any issues, contact your travel insurer immediately.

So just another bit of insurance to give us a bit more piece of mind when we are traveling abroad on holiday.


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